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YWP Participant Pep Talk from Kelly B.


You started your novel!

Not many people can say that they’ve done that before. So don’t let anyone tell you what you're doing is meaningless or that your story doesn’t matter.

Think about how many billion people that live on this planet (7… I think), and then try to guess what percentage of them have actually started writing a story, or have scheduled a whole month to work.

Well, I don’t know that percentage, but according to NaNoWriMo, 400,000 people did it last year, which is about .00004% of people. And there were only 85,000 YWP writers! (Don’t make me do math again, I can’t even type 1 billion in the calculator I’m using so I have to use the math I learned in school. UGH!)

Furthermore, If I’ve learned anything from these past three years of writing, it's that it can feel like you don’t know how to go on, but there is always a way to keep writing.

For three years, I have been working on the same book series during NaNoWriMo. Last year, I had to stop.

I couldn’t take the cheesy climax I had planned, and I was dealing with extra stress from high school, so I stopped writing and fell 10,000 words short of my goal.

It was like something inside me, my experience, my soul, or something, couldn’t let me write that last scene. My writing style changed so much over the three years, and I wasn’t a cheesy, all loose-ends tied, little kid writer any more. I was a dramatic, cliffhanger, theoretical writer, and sadly, I couldn’t figure out a way to write around it. So I stopped and focused on school, French class, and homework.

No, I am not telling you that you should give up on your book because you will hate it in three years. Not at all.

I’m telling you that it’s ok not to want to write the story you are writing.

Just stop writing it if you need to.

But whatever you do, do not stop writing COMPLETELY!

I went on to have the most productive year of writing yet, because I let my NaNo novel show me what I want to write.

I wrote two-and-a-half short stories in a trilogy that will have terrible cliffhangers and dramatic dialogue. I made up more stories in my head, joined an improv club, and told stories to misbehaving kids in the hot tub during our family vacation.

Let me remind you of this:

NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing the exact story you had planned or the perfect story ready for publishing.

NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing a story you dread writing.

NaNoWriMo is about writing the story you want to write, one that you love writing.

NaNoWriMo is about getting down a first draft and that first draft can change.

You will always have time to edit it later. And if you hate something with all your heart, write a new version of it. Who cares? (Besides maaayyybbbee future you. ;) )

NaNoWriMo is about writing, and inspiring yourself to write.The word count goal is a pretty good reminder of this, with a number and graphic meant to motivate you to keep going. But if you feel stressed, your goal is changeable. Set goals, commit to things, but don’t let your expectations get you stuck. Maybe you finish your story, maybe you don’t, but at the end of November, there are only two things that really matter:

That you inspired yourself to write more.

And that you tried your best.

(YES, I know that Yoda says there is no try, but I bet you that Yoda has never written a novel before. ;) )

photo of Kelly B.

Kelly B. Is an eccentric 10th grader who plays the vibraphone in marching band and is so not ready for states. (Her band got a 1!) When she’s not writing or playing her instrument you can find her listening to podcasts and audiobooks, drawing, improvising, acting, or putting too much effort into a school project.

She has a dog named Mokey who is part poodle, part chow-chow, and part awesomeness. And her whole family (including Mokey) are all learning French for their trip to Paris next year!

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